Soldiers with the 5th Special Forces Group, 101st Airborne Division and Joint Special Operations Task Force-Gulf Cooperation Council on Aug. 7 prepare for a humanitarian airdrop in Iraq. (Staff Sgt Vernon Young Jr. / Air Force via AP)
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Crisis in Iraq
Three Air Force C-130s and a C-17 conducted the fourth airdrop of food and water for thousands of threatened Iraqi citizens on Sunday.
The aircraft, escorted by U.S. fighter jets, dropped 88 bundles of supplies for displaced Yazidis who had fled local cities to nearby mountains after death threats from Islamic State fighters, according to U.S. Central Command. To date, U.S. aircraft have dropped more than 74,000 meals and 15,000 gallons of drinking water.
The airdrops came as U.S. fighters and remotely piloted aircraft continued airstrikes on Islamic State fighters and equipment. On Sunday, an aircraft destroyed an Islamic State armored truck that was firing on Kurdish forces near Irbil. After that airstrike, a second armored truck seen moving away from the area was destroyed.
Another aircraft bombed an Islamic State mortar position and another armed truck. A final strike damaged another Islamic State vehicle.
The Pentagon said the strikes were conducted to defend Kurdish forces who are fighting the Islamic State near Irbil, where U.S. personnel and citizens are located.
So far, the airstrikes have largely been from U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets from the carrier George H.W. Bush in the Arabian Gulf, along with Air Force remotely piloted aircraft in the region. Air Force C-17s and C-130s are flying the airdrop missions from a nearby, unnamed base.
President Obama said on Saturday that the airstrikes have destroyed arms and equipment of the Islamic State, saying that the mission will be a “long-term project” with no stated end date.